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Digest

Master Chief retires after 30 years of service

By Times Staff Writer
Published September 9, 2007


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Master Chief Petty Officer David E. Weller recently retired after a 30-year career.

His retirement ceremony was held at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 24, 2007. The guest speakers were Rear Admiral Stephen E. Johnson, director, Strategic Systems Programs; Capt. Dave Volonino, chief of staff, Commander Submarine Group 10 (COMSUBGRU 10) and Machinist's Mate, Master Chief (MMCM) (SS/AW) Roger Dumont.

Master Chief Weller was born on May 10, 1958, in Baltimore, Md., and grew up in Largo. In 1976 he graduated from Seminole High School and joined the Navy the following year.

While in the Navy, the 6-foot-2 officer served exclusively aboard submarines, including the USS Lafayette SSBN 616 (BLUE/GOLD), USS George Washington Carver SSBN 656 (BLUE), USS Henry Clay SSBN 625 (BLUE) and USS Von Steuben SSBN 632 (BLUE). Upon graduation from the Navy's Senior Enlisted Academy, he reported to the USS Nebraska SSBN 739 (BLUE) as Chief of the Boat.

While he was there, the USS Nebraska earned three straight Submarine Squadron 16 Battle Efficiency Awards. His shore tours included Test Instrumentation Division Naval Ordnance Test Unit at Cape Canaveral, and while in Kings Bay, Ga., he was missile division leading chief petty officer and instructor at Trident Training Facility and command master chief of Submarine Squadron 16. In April 2003 he was selected as strategic systems programs command master chief.

Master Chief Weller is entitled to wear the Command Master Chief Badge, the Submarine Enlisted Qualification Insignia, Navy Commendation Medal with three awards, Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Battle "E" Ribbon with four awards, Good Conduct Medal with one Silver and two Bronze stars, National Defense Medal with one Bronze star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with one Silver Star, Expert Pistol Medal, and Expert Rifle Medal.

In addition he is entitled to wear the Gold FBM Strategic Deterrent Patrol Pin signifying his completion of 20 deterrent patrols.

Master Chief Weller is the son of the late Herbert L. Weller Sr. and Harriette Weller of Largo. While growing up in Pinellas County he attended Oakhurst Elementary School, Seminole Middle School and Seminole High School.

He has three sisters, Marcia Weller Brown and Laurie Weller Smith, both of Tampa; and Catherine Weller Budinger of Cincinnati, and three brothers, Ronnie Weller of Milwaukee, Herbert "Champ" Weller of Clearwater, and Walter "Dutch" Weller of Largo.

He and his wife, Kathleen, live in Bowie, Md., with three of their four children, Stephen Weller, Kristian Weller and Chelsia Weller. His eldest son, 19-year old Christopher Weller, lives in Texas.

Naval Sea Cadets from Suncoast Squadron

Seaman E3 James Chulla, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, recently graduated from Petty Officer Leadership Academy, which was held at the Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg, in July. While there he was awarded the Citation ribbon for being in the honor company. Chulla also graduated in June of this year from the master of arms academy that was held at Central Michigan University. Chulla joined the Suncoast Squadron in May of 2006 and since then has received many awards. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Chulla of Clearwater.

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Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Dillon Wright, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wright of Clearwater, recently returned from the United Kingdom as an exchange cadet. Wright is a senior at St. Petersburg High School in the International Baccalaureate program where he is seeking a career in the Navy after graduation. Wright also was selected in June to attend the United States Naval Academy's summer session for one week.

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Cadet Greg McCranie, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, son of Mr. and Mrs. Adam McCranie of Safety Harbor, recently graduated from NSCC two-week boot camp at Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg. While at recruit boot camp, McCranie was given the high honor of being the "Honor Cadet" for Delta Company. McCranie is a student at Clearwater Central Catholic and is seeking a career in the military.

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Cadet Joseph Davis, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, son of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Davis of Clearwater, recently graduated from NSCC two-week recruit boot camp at Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg. While at recruit boot camp, Davis was given the high honor of being "Honor Cadet" for Bravo Company. Davis is a student at Clearwater Central Catholic and is seeking a career in the military.

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Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole Layana, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, daughter of Carlos Layana of Palm Harbor and Pamela Heller of Brandon, recently graduated from basic corpsman training at the Naval Clinic in Great Lakes, Ind. Layana is a sophomore at East Lake High School and is seeking a career in the Nurse Corps.

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Cadet Henry Lipka, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, son of Hank Lipka of Clearwater, graduated from NSCC Recruit Boot Camp at Air National Guard Camp Blanding in Jacksonville. Lipka is a student at John F. Kennedy Middle School and is seeking a career in veterinary medicine.

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Cadet Michael Sperna, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, recently graduated from NSCC recruit boot camp at Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg. Sperna was chosen as an "Honor Cadet" for his company during training. Sperna, the son of Jennifer Brown of Clearwater, is a student at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School in Pinellas Park.

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Cadet Edward Sepe, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, son of Mr. and Mrs. Chris Sepe of Tarpon Springs, recently graduated from NSCC recruit boot camp at Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg. He is a student at Clearwater Central Catholic.

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Cadet Connor Schmidt, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wolf Schmidt of Clearwater, recently graduated from NSCC recruit boot camp at Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg. Schmidt is a student at Coachman Fundamental in Clearwater. He is seeking a career in the Coast Guard.

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Cadet Nathan Poston, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, son of Felicia Crowder of Palm Harbor, recently graduated from NSCC recruit boot camp at Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg. Poston is a student at Dunedin Academy.

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Cadet Michail Piatt, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, recently graduated from NSCC recruit boot camp at Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg. Piatt is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Piatt of Dunedin, a student at Palm Harbor Middle School and is seeking a career in the military.

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Cadet Samuel Mancuso, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, recently graduated from NSCC recruit boot camp at Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg. Mancuso, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Mancuso of Clearwater, is a student at Clearwater High School.

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Cadet Taylor Adams, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, recently graduated from NSCC recruit boot camp at Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg. Adams, the son of Mr. Michael Adams of Clearwater, is a student at Tarpon Springs High School.

[Last modified September 8, 2007, 21:51:46]


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